Step 2: Flexible Income Opportunities

So you’ve got your budget figured out, have mapped out neighborhoods that you think have great rental potential, and are scanning properties on real estate sites or even visiting properties in person.

What are you looking for?

It’s not just the quality of the appliances, bedroom sizes, and views you should be assessing.

Flexible income opportunities with any investment property are critical to weathering storms or issues that come your way.

An example:

My first rental property has 2 floors. The main floor is a comfortable 3 bedroom space, the second floor (a garden level space) is a cozy 2 bedroom with a large bathroom and living space and has a separate entrance from the main floor. The bottom floor was essentially a separate unit from the main floor.

Why did this floor plan immediately appeal to me?

Because it offers flexible income options.

The main floor could be rented by longer term tenants on a lease, while the bottom floor could be listed as an Airbnb. Or alternately, the whole house could be rented to a group, or each bedroom could be rented individually.

By having flexible income options of renting or Airbnb-ing some of the rooms, I was fortunate enough to weather a few different crises.

Crises like – when I was between tenants and did not have the upstairs unit rented out, Airbnb-ing the basement unit more than covered the mortgage.

Or for instance, when a pandemic hits and Airbnb essentially stops renting completely I was able to rely on long term rental income from the upstairs unit.

I’ve also Airbnb-ed my main living space (locking valuables or personal items in a closet) while I’ve been out of town to earn some extra income. I charged a higher premium to have guests use my personal space but it worked out great.

Other flexible rental income options I’ve seen or used myself include:

  • Renting out garage space – think of hobbyists with sports cars or boat/RV/van owners who need a covered space to store their gear.
  • Renting out storage space – do you have an abundance of closet or private storage space? Consider renting that space out.
  • Renting out a studio space – someone in need of a work space would love to set up shop in studio space in your home (spare bedroom, heated/cooled garage space, home office).
  • Renting out parking space – do you live in a high density area where parking is coveted? You can rent out that parking space to a commuter who needs it.

You can list rental options like the one above on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. And of course, check existing listings in your neighborhood to find the right price for what you’re listing.

Overall, keep your eyes open for flexible income options when you shop for real estate. Be creative about your space and be sure you’re setting your investment up for resiliency so you can earn income from your property creatively.

 

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